Wednesday 27 March 2013

Spain targets advertisers to crack down on piracy

Whilst the debate as to how piracy affects sales of legitimate content continues  (see Ben's recent post ), the Spanish government is taking positive action to crack down on piracy by using a method that all businesses respond to: money. It has proposed a new law which would include sanctions against companies paying to advertise on pirate sites.

The new provisions would include increased fines of 30,000 euros to 300,000 euros for websites failing to take down infringing content as well as sanctions against companies which fund pirate websites by way of advertising revenue and payment service companies, such as credit card companies, that work with websites that carry pirated material.
It isn't clear yet how this will play out in practice. According to Reuters, the Education and Culture Minister, Jose Ignacio Wert, has said that the proposed law constitutes a new effort to increase copyright protection in the country by going after large-scale distributors of illicit material. This may be as a reaction to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) recommendation in February that the US Trade Representative put Spain on a watch list for potential trade sanctions for lax copyright protection.

Spain currently relies on its Sinde Law, passed in 2011, to block access to infringing websites (rather taking the three-strike approach seen in most other countries) which has had mixed success. Opponents say that the law is an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression whilst rightsholders say that the web-blocking provisions have been ineffective.
The new so called "Lassalle law" is now open for public consultation for the next two to three months. It will then be subject to review and will be presented to parliament for approval later in the year.

More on the Lasalle law in Spanish here.

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